PA-Gov Round-Up: Pension and Education Crises

PA-Governor-Mansion2Last week was about personalities but this week we returned to the issues.

Specifically the issues of education, which polls show voters are most concerned about, and pensions, which the Governor is most worried about and feels is related to the problem of funding schools.

Given the last few weeks, it is not an absurd assumption to guess that education will be the issue most mentioned by Wolf this year while pensions will be brought up as much if not more by the Governor.


The Corbett-Cawley campaign has been intensely focused since the budget season on attacking Wolf for not recognizing the pension crisis that the Governor believes is at the heart of the commonwealth’s fiscal problems.

They pointed out that State Rep. Mike Sturla, the Democratic caucus policy chairman, acknowledged that the pension issue needs to be addressed.

“Even as millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf’s surrogates acknowledge Pennsylvania has a pension crisis, Wolf continues turn a blind eye and appease the interests of the public sector unions who have given him $1.13 million since he purchased the Democratic nomination in May,” said Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack.  “Governor Corbett is the only one willing to stand up to the public sector unions and get pension reform done and costs under control for future generations.”

The cries from the Governor’s campaign became even louder after Moody’s downgraded the state’s credit rating and cited pensions as one of the contributing factors.

“Moody’s has cited the Commonwealth’s growing pension liabilities as a primary reason for downgrading Pennsylvania’s credit rating despite millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf’s repeated denial of a pension crisis,” Pack stated. “It is a true shame that despite all of the evidence of our state’s pension crisis that Secretary Tom Wolf continues to deny there is a problem at all.  It is time for Secretary Tom Wolf to stop denying our state’s pension crisis for his selfish political reasons and instead encourage his Democratic cohorts to do what is right for the 12.7 million residents of Pennsylvania and not just what is best for the Harrisburg special interests.”

It’s clear the Corbett campaign feels pensions are their strongest issue but it remains to be seen whether they can successfully connect that issue to the one voters (and Wolf) are focusing on, education.


After the Corbett campaign took aim at Wolf in a new television ad, the Democratic nominee attacked the Governor for what he identified as a billion dollar cut in education funding.

“Tom Corbett cut $1 billion from education, leading to teacher layoffs and property tax increases, while refusing to make oil and gas companies pay their fair share,” said Beth Melena, the campaign’s spokeswoman. “Tom Corbett sunk Pennsylvania to 49th in the nation in job growth. Now he is spending millions in attacks that have already been called false and ridiculously misleading. After more than three years of failed policies and no leadership, Pennsylvanians are ready for a fresh start.”

Meanwhile, Mike Mikus of FreshStartPA went after Gov. Corbett for speaking in front of an apparently preselected group of Bucks County seniors. He also made clear that the pension and education crises are the fault of the incumbent.

“Tom Corbett is trying to hide from the fact that his $1 billion dollar cut to education is what has driven up property taxes in Pennsylvania and that his pension plan will offer no immediate savings,” Mikus wrote.

“Not only would Tom Corbett’s pension plan do nothing to create short-term savings, it also would do nothing to reduce the unfunded liability. This means that Corbett’s pension plan would not help to upgrade Pennsylvania’s $11.1 billion general obligation bonds to our previous rating of Aa2.”

Expect to hear much more about pensions and education in the weeks and months ahead.

Philadelphia-Based Tea Party Group Changes Name, Shifts Focus

Tea-Party-MovementFive years after the Tea Party movement first gained steam, they’re are local signs that it may be starting to cool off.

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association, the largest Tea Party group in the tri-state region of PA, NJ, and DE, announced today that it will be removing “Tea Party” from its name and will henceforth be known as just the Independence Hall Foundation. The organization will also be shifting its focus and dissolving its PAC.

“We wish to pursue a larger, more mainstream conservative agenda-while respecting the mission of the broader Tea Party movement,” President Teri Adams said today at a press conference.

Adams claimed that although tensions between the Association and the national Tea Party movement exist, the Association’s decision to change its name and focus derives primarily from the Association’s belief that it has successfully achieved what it set out to do when it formed in 2009.

“While we have usually agreed with most Tea Party objectives, we have not always agreed on Tea Party tactics – especially those espoused by national groups – proving, despite its portrayal as such in the media, that the Tea Party was not monolithic,” he said.

“And just like the original Tea Party of the 18th Century, our organization envisioned the modern Tea Party as a protest movement – not necessarily a permanent social/political movement or party – but one which could lead to peaceful revolutionary changes in government.”

Adams focused throughout the conference on the successes of the Association, which was formed primarily to focus on the Philadelphia media market.

“Over the last five years, our Association, like the broader Tea Party movement in regions across the country, has made a difference,” he said. “We woke up many Americans to an ever-expansive and intrusive federal government.”

“More Americans seem to be aware of our nation’s alarming $16 trillion national debt and the scandals involving renegade bureaucracies, within the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, and the Veterans Administration.”

In addition to discussing the broader Tea Party movement’s victories, he also highlighted the Association’s own accomplishments, pointing to its successful lobbying for a Voter ID bill that was eventually signed into law (but was later struck down as unconstitutional by a Commonwealth Court judge) and its annual Congressional Scorecard.

Adams claims that these successes are the reason for the organization’s rebranding, as it is “time to take matters to the next level.”

“While we obviously agree with the core principles of the Tea Party as clearly enunciated during those early 2009 Tax Day Tea Parties – a free enterprise economy based on lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation – we would like to expand our efforts to include non-traditional tea party issues such as Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life, Culture and the Arts, Educational Savings Accounts, Foreign Affairs, and Defense,” he said.

Adams closed with a description of what the Association hopes to be and to do as it changes its focus under a new name. “In the future, we wish to be referred to as The Independence Hall Foundation – a conservative educational organization dedicated to promoting the principles enshrined in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.”

7/25 Ups & Downs

A credit downgrade, a listicle and a gun. Who says summer is boring and predicable? See who made this week’s list.

Up Arrow1PA Employment. The state added 1,800 jobs last month and the unemployment rate stayed flat at 5.6%. In fact, PA’s unemployment rate has dropped 2.5% over the last nineteen months. We’d give this arrow to Governor Corbett but as polling has shown, leaders get the blame when the economy is bad but don’t get the credit when the economy is good (there’s a guy down in Washington who can sympathize).

Down ArrowCredit Rating. This week’s the credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Pennsylvania’s rating from Aa2 to Aa3. There was (of course) much partisan finger-pointing but the firm blamed budgetary tricks and the state’s burgeoning pension obligations. Regardless of blame, this was bad news for everyone.

Up Arrow1Pat Toomey. How can we not give an up arrow to the man who has successfully become a Buzzfeed contributor? Besides reminding everyone of the commonwealth’s abundant supply of home-grown entertainers (from Grace Kelly to Will Smith to Taylor Swift) it’s an unconventional way to reach voters. The Senator also made headlines this week for his call for harsher against Vladimir Putin. As a member of the legislative branch, Toomey has the advantage of denouncing a man everyone hates without any negative consequences.

Down ArrowCharlie Dent. Nearly every member of Congress takes advantage of the traveling perks and PA’s Representatives are no exception. Unfortunately for Rep. Charlie Dent, though, he led the pack among the state delegation. Congressman Dent and his staff took fifteen such trips over the past two years and serves on the House Ethics Committee that approves all these expenditures.

Down ArrowTom Marino. Rep. Marino found himself at the center of an unwelcome situation last Friday when his press secretary was arrested for attempting to bring a gun into the Cannon House Office Building. Ryan Shucard was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and was placed on leave. Shucard has pled not guilty, however, so this story probably isn’t going away anytime soon.

The tweet of the week goes to Philadelphia Daily News reporter William Bender for admitting what we all secretly do, even if we’re too ashamed to admit it, click on Internet ads.

7/25 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Corbett attacks Wolf on taxes, Rothenberg looks at the state’s congressional races and Sen. Toomey writes for Buzzfeed. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: New Corbett Ad Blasts Wolf on Taxes (VIDEO): The 30-second spot charges Tom Wolf with wanting to raise taxes and with moving his company to avoid Pennsylvania taxes.

Rothenberg Political Report: Costello, Fitzpatrick, Boyle Favored: The Rothenberg Political Report sees three favorites in the races for PA-6, PA-8, and PA-13.

PA-Sen: Senator Toomey’s Little-known Hobby: Think only Millennials frequent Buzzfeed? Think again.

PA Independent: Uber, Lyft granted temporary authority to operate in Allegheny County
PA Independent: Arcade helps give PA borough extra life, but hefty tax could mean game over
StateImpactPA: Drilling plans for Loyalsock State Forest quietly move forward

Philly Now: It’s official: Cameras coming to Philly cabs
Heard in the Hall: Bon Voyage: Nutter and Delegation in Paris
Philadelphia Daily News: Jury finds ex-Traffic Court judges not guilty of corruption, fraud
Philadelphia Daily News: At LOVE Park, advocates for Israel, Palestine face off
The Inquirer: Fight over ride sharing comes to Philadelphia
The Inquirer: PennDOT chief: Congress must do its work or put projects at risk
The Inquirer: Phila. pension fund ends year up 15.6%
WHYY NewsWorks: Immigration agencies seek Philly attorneys to help represent kids from Central America
Philadelphia City Paper: ACLY: Philly cops bust civilians for photography

Bucks County Courier Times: Northampton board creates Veteran Advisory Commission
Bucks Local News: Northampton Township considers implementation of LERTA program to stimulate economic growth
Bucks Local News: Bucks County Congressman leads bipartisan push condemning Russia, MH17 terror attack
Bucks Local News: Fitzpatrick, Meehan release photos of concealed, ignored mail at Philadelphia VA; fears reports of destroyed, concealed correspondence could extend throughout VA

WTAE: Action News Investigates: City using hidden cameras to catch illegal dumpers
Early Returns: Education cuts? It depends
Post-Gazette: Allegheny County public works director resigns
Post-Gazette: DA demands city police follow specific eyewitness ID techniques
Post-Gazette: Corbett care plan no longer cuts aid for disabled
Pittsburgh Business Times: Major facelift completed for Brookline Boulevard

Beaver County Times: Councilman’s wife charged with dealing drugs
Beaver County Times: Insurance companies to refund Pennsylvanians nearly $5.2 million
Beaver County Times: Beaver County Commissioners hold off on media policy
Beaver County Times: County commissioners split over property purchase
Altoona Mirror: Local man becomes US citizen
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Corbett’s education policies faulted

Pocono Record: Attorney general files legal action against Monroe County paving business
Pocono Record: Delaware Valley School Board to OK insurance coverage for same-sex couples
Citizens Voice: CAN DO asks county council not to sell Hazelton building
Citizens Voice: Flood board wants vacant seats filled
Citizens Voice: Report: Culture, history has $80m impact on region
Times-Tribune: Wayne Evans expected to fill vacant city council seat
Times-Tribune: Courtright has backup plan if commuter tax plan falters
Times-Tribune: Online petition against Scranton commuter tax gets 1K signatures
Times-Tribune: Pension board says retired firefighters won’t get increase
Standard Speaker: PV study reveals high levels of radon in cluster
Standard Speaker: Mayor’s refusal to recognize council’s appointments questioned
News Item: Fuel oil discovery slows creek project in Mount Carmel

South Central
Harrisburg Patriot News: Corbett signs new execution warrant for Trista Eng killer Hubert Michael
Harrisburg Patriot News: Reforming Pa. public school funding ‘herculean’ task for new commission, members say
Harrisburg Patriot News: Is Corbett mixing official business and campaigning? Yes, analysts say, all politicians do
York Daily Record: State representatives push pension reform in York County
York Dispatch: State: Think Loud CEO’s criminal past won’t affect $5M grant
York Dispatch: York residents talk about pension reform

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Corbett has spent $1.7 million on TV ads in July
Morning Call: Pennsylvania’s disabled worker program will continue
Morning Call: Senate panel reviews Leeson, other judicial nominees
Reading Eagle: Building trade groups urge Reading City Council to reject project labor agreements
WFMZ: ASD Forced to dip further into fund balance for 2015 budget
Express Times: Protest over immigrant children at KidsPeace got loud, remained peaceful, police say

North by Northwest
Centre Daily Times: Rally targets LGBT inequality in workplaces, housing
Onward State: Jay Paterno, Bill Kenney File Federal Lawsuit against Penn State
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Hearing about drilling on state lands coming to city

Times-Tribune: Release data on smog plan
Times-Tribune: State late to game on natural gas
Citizens Voice: Education can clear up confusion
The Times Leader: Our Opinion: Is Pennsylvania’s ‘energy revolution’ shaping up as you expected? Armed for a political gun fight
The Inquirer: Editorial: Justice for judges?
Bucks County Courier Times: Numbing numbers
Post-Gazette: Here’s hoping: The PUC takes a step forward on ride sharing
News Item: Press on with blight fight; hold landlords to the fire
Harrisburg Patriot News: A third Tom enters the race for governor and turns up the heat: John L. Micek
York Daily Record: A question to state Sen. Scott Wagner

Commonwealth Foundation: Audio: The Beginning of the End for Obamacare?
Keystone Politics: Audit of DEP Finds Shocking Evidence of Republican Environmental Policy
Keystone Politics: PA Legislators Accept Free Vacations with Ethics Committee Approval
2 Political Junkies: Now THAT’S A Switch!

Rothenberg Political Report: Costello, Fitzpatrick, Boyle Favored

Brendan-Boyle-2013Although we are still over three months away from election day, the Rothenberg Political Report has identified frontrunners for three key Congressional races in Pennsylvania.

6th District

Republican Ryan Costello is the “clear favorite” against Dr. Manan Trivedi in the 6th district. Both are fighting for the seat vacated by Republican Jim Gerlach. According to the report, this district leans toward the GOP.

Costello also earned a candidate profile in the report.

“Clearly a political junkie, Costello comes across as personable and astute,” writes Rothenberg. “He can discuss campaigns and policy with equal ease, and could become someone of influence within the House GOP. If elected, Costello will likely be a mainstream, pragmatic conservative Republican — definitely not a tea party caucus guy.”

8th District

In the 8th district, incumbent Republican Mike Fitzpatrick is currently looking “very strong” in his race against Democrat Kevin Strouse thanks to a competitive primary challenge from Shaughnessy Naughton. They rate the seat as “Republican favored” as opposed to PA-6’s “Lean Republican” status.

13th District

Democratic Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz left her position in Congress to run for governor, but the Rothenberg Political Report believes that the seat will remain in the hands of the Democrats. They are confident that State Representative Brendan Boyle will overtake Republican Dee Adcock in the 13th district, asserting that Boyle “will win the seat in November.”

PA-Gov: New Corbett Ad Blasts Wolf on Taxes (VIDEO)

Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign released a new 30-second TV advertisement that attacks Democratic nominee Tom Wolf on the issue of taxes.

The commercial alleges that Wolf, as revenue secretary under Gov. Rendell, tried to raise a variety of taxes.

“When Tom Wolf was the state’s top tax collector, he tried to raise taxes on almost everything,” the narrator says in the ad. “Wolf called for a new garbage tax and a home heating and electric tax. Wolf even tried increasing the state sales tax.”

In addition, the ad claims that Wolf moved his company to Delaware to “avoid paying the same taxes he forced us to pay.”

The 30-second ad ends with a bang.

“If there was a hypocrite tax, Tom Wolf would owe a lot of money.”

Wolf’s people, for their part, issued a response to Corbett’s new ad.

According to Wolf campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena, Corbett “is spending millions in attacks that have already been called false and ridiculously misleading” by media fact-checkers in order to distract voters from his “three years of failed leadership.”

Gov. Tom Corbett, who trails Wolf by 20 points in the latest polls, is going on the attack early in order to chip away at that lead.

PA-Sen: Senator Toomey’s Little-known Hobby

Official PortraitBuzzfeed, known for disseminating news and pop culture factoids in list form, is a website commonly frequented by Millennials. In fact, 57% of the site’s visitors are between 18 and 34 years old.

What you may not know about the site, however, is that one of Pennsylvania’s own Senators writes for it.

Senator Pat Toomey has published several articles on Buzzfeed. He first posted five months ago, and since that time has written two more pieces.

His article titles from most recent to least recent are: “11 people who prove Pennsylvania wins at this whole entertainment thing,” “10 fascinating Pennsylvanian women,” and “9 reasons Pennsylvania rocks the Capitol.”

A Wall Street Journal article in 2012 dismally reported that a Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey found that only 25% of American adults can name both of their Senators, and 51% can name neither.

Toomey’s utilization of Buzzfeed may help get his name out to his youngest constituents, under the guise of sharing interesting facts about the Commonwealth. The website had over 400 million viewers just last month, and this number continues to increase.

The Senator links his government website to his buzzfeed page, possibly with the hope that those who like his Buzzfeed posts will view his site and learn about the issues he is currently supporting in Washington.

Or maybe he’s just a really big Taylor Swift fan.

7/24 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6A new PA-6 poll, Corbett gets in a dispute with the Sierra Club and Troiano indicates that he’ll make the ballot. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-6: Internal Poll: Costello 35% Trivedi 30%: An internal poll from the Trivedi campaign finds the Democratic candidate in striking distance of his opponent.

PA-10: Troiano Reaches Signature Requirement: Independent candidate for PA’s 10th District Nick Troiano announced today that he has collected the signatures necessary to be placed on the ballot.

PA-Gov: Corbett Ordered to Release Smog Plan Correspondence: The Sierra Club has successfully appealed a refusal by Governor Corbett’s office to release correspondence concerning a state anti-smog plan that the environmentalists believe may have been compromised by corporate interests.

Capitolwire: Statewide fingerprinting guidelines could be on the way for police departments
Capitolwire: Online payday lenders agree to pull out of PA market
Capitolwire: Commonwealth Court ruling called a ‘ground breaking’ decision for growing charter schools
PLS Reporter: Thirteen percent of eligible criminal cases lack fingerprints, hearing reveals
State House Sound Bites: House takes its time on DNA collection changes

WHYY NewsWorks: Pop-up beer gardens in Philly stirring brouhaha
The Inquirer: Corbett brings his pension plea to Bucks
The Inquirer: Despite verdict, reform in Traffic Court takes hold
The Inquirer: Kenney to Nutter (again): Sign the pot bill already

AP: More than 500 migrants kids sent to Pennsylvania
Bucks County Courier Times: Bristol Township may get help from the state to combat crime
Daily Local News: West Bradford OKs $4 million bond for projects

City Paper: Following Up: PrideFest altercation raises as many questions about police policy as it does about the officer’s conduct
WTAE: Investigation reveals big gap in cellphone privacy protection
WTAE: City Council to public safety director: Police facing crisis in confidence, low morale
Tribune Review: United States proposes tougher rules for moving crude oil, ethanol by rail
Tribune Review: VA settles 3 more Legionnaires’ cases
Tribune Review: State Senate hires lawyer, considers suing Corbett
Pittsburgh Business Times: New SEC regs require institutional investors to float NAVs
Pittsburgh Business Times: PUC recommends emergency approval for Lyft, Uber
Pittsburgh Business Times: These academics seem to think we’re unhappy in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Business Times: Why your school-supply dollar isn’t stretching too far this year
Post-Gazette: PennDOT to join Pennsylvania Turnpike in testing 70 mph speed limit

Beaver County Times: Proposed compressor station ignites lengthy debate
Beaver County Times: Cornell officials open to talking about merger with Moon district
Beaver County Times: Report: Pennsylvania receives ‘D’ for policies supporting working parents
Altoona Mirror: Lack of answers angers Hollidaysburg residents
Altoona Mirror: County says reassessment ‘pace will pick up’

The Times Leader: Strelish, Henderson still cashing LCTA paychecks
Times-Tribune: Speed limit to rise to 70 mph on stretch of I-380
Times-Tribune: Legislature likely to alter city commuter tax, Blake says
Times-Tribune: Scranton council cancels meeting to consider vacancy
Citizens Voice: County council cuts Hazleton transit funding
News Item: Mount Carmel mayor wants to be your friend
News Item: LMSD hires engineers for oil leak probe
AP: Pa. auditor: Drilling boom overwhelms regulators

South Central
Carlisle Sentinel: Turnpike could be first of many Pennsylvania 70 mph highways
Carlisle Sentinel: County considers voluntary employee resignation plan
Harrisburg Patriot News: Rising inmate population, staffing costs, plague Cumberland County Prison
Harrisburg Patriot News: Gas prices continue to fall in the midstate

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Brad Osborne says he wouldn’t let court make decision
Morning Call: Former Nazi guard dies in Philadelphia just before extradition approved
Morning Call: Corbett provides $5 million stamp of approval to FedEx plan
Morning Call: Feds charge woman with embezzling $562K from employer
WFMZ: Man found with 200 marijuana plants in yard, police say
Express Times: Police warn merchants to be careful after fake $100 bills passed in Hunterdon County

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Corbett’s pension reform pitch to property owners
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Water authority getting $9M construction loan
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Decision pending

News Item: Stop corporate tax inversions, then pass reform
The Times Leader: Our Opinion: Scranton region’s dour ranking in happiness study not a total bummer
Observer-Reporter: Selective blame game
Observer-Reporter: DEP should pay heed to DePasquale’s report
York Dispatch: LETTER: Immigration crisis straining health system
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: The minimum wage should be raised from just $7.25. Do you agree? Corbett’s counterproductive pension proposal Phila. teachers need support
Philadelphia Daily News: The politics of pensions = annoyance
Philly Now: Why a cigarette tax for Philly schools is a tax on the poor
Tribune Review: The Corbett administration gives itself a headache with selective transparency
Altoona Mirror: Agencies’ disclosure staggering
Citizens Voice: Leaseholders deserve better from legislators

Keystone State Education Coalition: New PA Basic Ed Funding Commission to start work on Thursday
Above Average Jane: Two Notes on Workforce Training
Above Average Jane: Amtrak Veterans Job Fair
2 Political Junkies: CIS in the News

PA-Gov: Corbett Ordered to Release Smog Plan Correspondence

Governor-Tom-CorbettThe Governor and PA environmentalists are currently in a heated battle over the creation of the state’s smog pollution solution.

According to a report from the Harrisburg Patriot News, The Sierra Club has successfully appealed a refusal by Governor Corbett’s office to release documents related to the drafting of a state plan intended to reduce smog pollution.

The Sierra Club is interested in correspondence concerning the smog plan because it believes that the drafters may have been compromised due to influence from corporations that contribute to PA’s smog.

The Sierra Club requested the documents in April through a Right-to-Know request, but was denied via claims that the documents requested were “internal, predecisional deliberations” and subject to attorney-client privilege.

The request came after the Sierra Club claimed that the smog plan released by the administration, which was federally required due to PA’s poor air quality, included standards that actually allowed coal plants to increase their smog pollution.

“We want to understand why this plan is so poor,” Sierra Club spokeswoman Kim Teplitzky said. “It doesn’t appear they (the plan’s drafters) were listening to us, so we would like to know who else they were listening to.”

The Office of Open Records issued today that Corbett must hand over “any and all records” concerning the drafting of the plan to the Sierra Club. This includes correspondence with the corporations in the industry that the Sierra Club believes influenced the plan’s drafting.

The governor’s office also worked to ensure that this ruling would exclude Gov. Corbett, and would only pertain to the thirteen members of his Executive Staff. The Office of Open Records, however, maintained that the governor’s own correspondence must be released.

Corbett’s office has 30 days to either provide the Sierra Club with the records or to appeal the decision with the Commonwealth Court.

“People deserve to know what’s going into the plan itself because it has an impact on people’s health…and their kids’ health,” Teplitzky said. “The Office of Open Records was very clear in their ruling, so we hope the administration will follow suit and release the records.”

The governor’s office has so far declined to comment.

PA-6: Internal Poll: Costello 35% Trivedi 30%

Dr-Manan-TrivediSo, just how competitive is the race for Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District?

The Trivedi campaign believes victory is very much possible and released results from an internal poll that shows them narrowly trailing Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello.

The Lake Research Partners survey found 35% of likely voters prefer Costello, the Republican nominee while 30% chose Trivedi, the Democratic nominee. 35% were undecided.

Furthermore, it shows that as respondents learn more about the candidates they are increasingly likely to turn towards Trivedi, an Iraq War vet and physician.

When presented with a paragraph describing each candidate, the numbers shifted to a 38% to 38% tie. Moreover, when the pollsters highlighted the differences between the candidates, the numbers drastically flipped to a 43% to 29% lead for Trivedi.

“For us to be running even in such a swing district that Mitt Romney won in 2012 is good news both in terms of what we have done and where we need to go in the next 100 days,” said Trivedi campaign manager, Dylan Gaffney. “Whether it’s his service during the Iraq War, being a father of two daughters, or that as a doctor he understands the importance of using evidence, not political rhetoric, to solve problems, voters gravitate toward Manan because they have more in common with him. The hard work of our volunteers and supporters is paying off and now it’s up to all of us to turn the corner and win this.”

The results also found Tom Wolf leading Governor Corbett in the 6th district 49% to 30%. This is significant because Corbett’s name will appear on the ballot right above Costello’s. The Democrats believe (and hope) that the Governor, who currently has very low approval ratings, could be a drag on the ticket statewide.

Yet, there are several caveats to these numbers. First, this is an internal poll which should always be taken with a grain of salt. Second, while LRP provided the language that produced the 38-38 split, they didn’t unveil what wording they used to negatively describe the candidates. Therefore, we’re unable to tell if that titled the results.

Finally, 35% is a gigantic number of undecided likely voters. The district is R+2 which means Trivedi will have to win over Republicans during an off-year election, when more Republicans than Democrats tend to vote.

Not surprisingly, the Costello campaign is not buying the results.

“The Trivedi campaign’s release of this memo comes as no surprise – its right out of the playbook for desperate candidates,” said Pete Peterson, Costello campaign spokesperson. “Three-time Congressional candidate Manan Trivedi is trailing in the polls, his fundraising is far off the pace set in his prior races and the policies that are the bedrock of his campaign are being soundly rejected. Trivedi can push his work of fiction, but the reality is Ryan Costello is well-positioned to win this race with a sizable 13 point lead among voters and twice as much cash on hand as his opponent. Going forward, Ryan will continue to work hard to earn every vote.”

The 13-point lead Peterson is referring to comes from an internal poll that their campaign released last May. He also pointed out that two years ago, the Trivedi camp released numbers from the same firm that found a similar phenomenon during his race against Rep. Jim Gerlach. Nonetheless, Gerlach won 57% to 43% in November.

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